Malawi and Zambia Walking Safari: Connoisseur’s Africa

Africa’s Great Rift Valley precisely defines the geography of Malawi, with mountain ranges which reach 3,000 m framing the deep fertile valleys and the 600 km long Lake Malawi. Over nine days, in the comfortable dry season, we explore this scenic diversity: game tracking on foot, by boat and 4WD in the little-known Liwonde National Park; walking on Thyolo Mountain, based on a stylish colonial tea estate; experiencing traditional Malawi village culture; and learning about the historic Missions established by David Livingstone.

We relax at the most luxurious lodge on Lake Malawi, swimming, snorkelling and taking a sunset dhow cruise, before completing our explorations with a further three days of classic walking safaris from one of the most exclusive lodges in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley, world-renowned as the most game-rich National Park in Africa.

HIGHLIGHTS of our Malawi and Zambia walking safari include:  

  • Top quality guiding by some of Africa's most skilled guides - experience the thrill of walking safaris in wild Africa  
  • Observing rare species (with patience & luck) - black rhino, sable, Lichtenstien's hartebeest, aardvark & African wild dogs  
  • The opportunity to visit local villages & a school & help support them by purchasing unique tribal textiles  
  • Sipping a Malawi gin & tonic on board a traditional wooden dhow at sunset on Lake Malawi  
  • Walking and bird watching on Thyolo mountain trails, with spectacular views across the Rift Valley

Guests’ comments on this trip:

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this trip - the knowledge and patience of the guides, and the effort they put in to make us feel welcome, whether it be on game drives, walks, sundowners in the bush or on Lake Malawi, were quite excellent.’

'A nicely balanced trip with relaxation, walking safaris and water activities - nothing was too much trouble, the guides were excellent and I don’t think you could improve on this trip.'

Malawi cubs
Malawi dhow
Malawi walk
Malawi roller
Malawi girl

DAY 1  
D included
After meeting at Blantyre airport in the afternoon, we have a short road transfer (half an hour) south to Thyolo mountain where we stay in stylish suites in a grand colonial house on Malawi’s oldest tea estate. Surrounded by manicured lawns and garden terraces, the house has a delightful setting – the perfect place for a Malawi gin and tonic before dinner.

DAY 2 
B, L, D included 
We walk on the Thyolo mountain trails, seeing giant tree ferns, cycads and proteas, vervet monkeys and many bird species in the remnant rain forest and enjoying spectacular views stretching to the 3,000 m Mount Mulanje (subject of Laurens van der Post’s book ‘Venture to the Interior’) on the far side of the Rift Valley. After lunch we have the option of touring the tea estate, with a tea tasting, or relaxing in the gardens.

B, L, D included
A morning drive to the southern end of Lake Malawi is of great cultural interest, especially once we are on dirt tracks which link the small villages. Everywhere people are walking, carrying water, or goods to the market, and everywhere we have a smiling welcome - Malawi’s reputation as the ‘warm heart of Africa’ is absolutely deserved. Our destination for the next 3 nights, reached by boat, is a luxury safari lodge sited on a lagoon just off the Shire river in the heart of Liwonde National Park. 

DAYS 4 & 5
B, L, D included
The game viewing, especially in the dry season, is excellent and we spend 2 days thoroughly investigating the area, taking boat rides on the Shire river (particularly good for close views of elephants – Liwonde has famously large herds - hippos and crocodiles), and day and night game drives by open 4WD. Bird watching is very rewarding with specialities including Bőhm’s bee eater, Pel’s fishing owl, Livingstone’s flycatcher and palmnut vulture. A particular highlight is the opportunity to track animals on foot, accompanied by an armed ranger and an expert tracker/guide – the mixed habitat of Borassus palms, candelabra trees, mopane and baobabs harbours rarer species such as sable and roan antelope, black rhino and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest. We have an opportunity to visit a local school; there is a small natural rock swimming pool; an excellent library; and each luxury 'tent' has a private raised viewing platform over the lagoon.

B, L, D included
A morning’s drive northwest is punctuated by photo and bird watching stops. On arrival at our luxury lodge (Malawi’s Leading Hotel 2012), beautifully situated above Lake Malawi, we have plenty of time to relax and take a swim from the private white sand beach or in the infinity pool before a gourmet dinner under the stars – in fact, when Livingstone first set eyes on the lake in 1859, he dubbed it ‘the lake of stars’.

DAYS 7 & 8
B, L, D included
Two days to enjoy the bewitchingly beautiful lake – snorkelling or scuba diving (Lake Malawi contains more endemic species of fish than any other lake in the world, most of them brilliantly colourful); kayaking; waterskiing; fishing; a walk to the nearby village or a birdwatching walk through the hills; enjoying the panoramic views from each suite’s private deck – and a sunset sail on the lodge’s traditional wooden dhow.

B, L, D included
After a final swim in the lake and ‘breakfast with a view’ we have a morning’s road transfer (3 hours) to Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital and then a private charter flight over the border into southern Zambia. We clear customs formalities at Mfuwe airstrip, are met by our guides and transfer in 4WDs (an hour) to our exclusive lodge set on private land on the banks of the Luangwa river. Once settled in, we head out on a game drive, hoping for the major predators (lion, leopard and African wild dog) and endemic species such as the Thornicroft giraffe. With 9,050 sq. km of diverse habitats, including huge ox bow lagoons, woodlands, ebony groves, grassland and thickets, the South Luangwa National Park hosts truly impressive numbers of wildlife. The birdlife is also excellent with around 450 species to be seen, including magnificent Martial Eagles and colonies of vivid Carmine Bee-eaters.

DAYS 10 & 11
B, L, D included
Walking safaris, led by a professional safari guide and escorted by an armed National Park scout, are a speciality of the South Luangwa and bring fascinating insights into the natural environment – the most exciting way to spend each morning. After lunch the quiet part of the day is spent reading, taking a siesta, swimming in the pool or watching game at the waterhole. We also have the opportunity to visit the nearby Kawaza village and meet the local Kunda people, plus buy some unique tribal textiles and reed baskets from a local project. Afternoon tea and cake prepares us for a game drive by open 4WD, sundowners out in the bush and then a night drive in search of nocturnal species such as thick-tailed bush baby, white-tailed mongoose, aardvark, large spotted genet and the leopards for which South Luangwa is famous. The days conclude with a complimentary drink from the spectacular bar, built round a huge ebony tree, and a gourmet dinner served by candlelight. 

DAY 12
B included
After a final early morning walk or game drive we transfer to Mfuwe airstrip and fly to Lusaka to connect with flights home or optionally continue on an extension to Victoria Falls.

Per person sharing: TBC
TBC deposit per person
TBC double for single supplement

Please note that the double for single room supplement is imposed by the safari lodges and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable. 

Price includes

  • All accommodation for Days 1 through 12, on a twin shared basis
  • All meals (with soft drinks, wine and beer at lunches and dinners) as listed in the daily notation
  • All land transportation in a private vehicle as described except during free periods
  • All boat trips as described except during free periods
  • Charter flights from Lilongwe to Mfuwe and Mfuwe to Lusaka
  • All entrance and sightseeing fees (including National Park fees and South Luangwa Conservation Levy) as described except during free periods
  • All activities as described ie game drives and walks with specialist trackers and rangers
  • Gratuities for lodge and restaurant staff, guides and trackers (appreciation for Kudu tour leaders / managers is entirely at your discretion)

Price does not include

  • International transportation to Blantyre (Malawi) and from Lusaka (Zambia)
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol besides that with group meals, free time activities, etc.)
  • Any meals not included in the daily notation
  • Motorised water sports on Lake Malawi
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • Malawi departure tax (currently US$30) and Zambia departure tax (currently US $8 domestic and US $25 international, payable in local currency)
  • Zambia airport security tax (currently US $5 domestic and US $10 international) 


On Kudu trips you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday.

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 2 nights in Thyolo mountains, in stylish suites in a grand colonial house on Malawi’s oldest tea estate
  • 3 nights in Liwonde National Park, in a luxury safari lodge
  • 3 nights in a luxury lodge on Lake Malawi (Malawi’s Leading Hotel 2012)
  • 3 nights in an exclusive lodge set on private land on the banks of the Luangwa river


Visa and Health Requirements
Visitors from the EU and USA currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Malawi. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of Malawi.

Visitors from most EU countries (including the UK) and USA are granted a single entry Tourist Visa on entry to Zambia (currently costing US $50). Note that Irish and South African citizens do not currently require a Visa. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy/High Commission of Zambia.

At present there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to Malawi or Zambia. However, during the day are likely to range from 12 - 33°C. The weather is warm/hot and very should see your doctor in good time (at least 2 months before you travel) for advice on essential malaria prophylaxis and any other immunisations etc. that they may recommend.

Yellow Fever immunisation is not needed for Malawi, but an immunisation certificate is required if entering the country from Zambia and and is occasionally asked for when entering Zambia from Malawi - a valid immunisation certificate is therefore required. A dental check up before you travel is also a sensible precaution. You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.

It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of party 
This trip will run with a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14 guests.